There is always something hopeful about a new year. This
time however there’s a lot going on in the world that causes us concern. Still,
it will come right in the end, I guess, even though it will probably become
uncomfortable on the way. I engage in the arguments but maybe my better
contribution comes in what I write.
For our family 2018 has had its shadows and saddest of all
is that we lost my mother-in-law suddenly on 18 November. But we’re feeling
positive as we face 2019.
I’m pleased that I have come to grips with an effective
submission strategy and am really getting my work out there. Oh yes, there are rejections, and more of
them than acceptances, but there are enough acceptances now for me to feel that
this is all going somewhere.
News about my writing
My own writing is
carrying on much as I mentioned last month.
I'm now on the fourth
edit of Peace Child 4. Between edits I write a short story and start
my writing day with a bit of flash fiction if all I’m going to do for the rest
of the time is edit. I’m continuing to work on my book about the dark side of
children's literature – which is making me read a lot and also reread several
works I’ve read before. I’ll also be visiting the MMU and Manchester City
libraries soon as I investigate versions of Cinderella,
Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding-Hood.
5 is still on hold for the moment, but Schellberg
3 is being professionally edited in February.
Fun with UPS
Lightning Source, are currently using UPS as a courier. They’ve used various
ones over the years but this one is by far the worst.
particular problems with delivery in the Republic of Ireland.
One real bug bear
is that when we are sent the proof copies of the paperbacks they send an email
and ask us to sign in advance. Why on
earth would we want to do that? Yet they simply put the book through the
letterbox, usually at 9.30 in the morning.
Okay, so we get our books. Except one time we didn’t. It was delivered to a completely different
part of Manchester.
“I think our
driver needs to go to Specsavers,” said the manager of the local centre.
They kept trying
to retrieve the book without success. However, a few days later it just
appeared through our letter-box at tea-time. A good-hearted person had trekked
through the rush-hour to redeliver it.
Proof copies cost
£21.00 a time. We must see them before we release the book.
Whenever UPS can’t
deliver, they issue an “exception notice”. A recent one said that the customer
had refused the delivery. It made me worry that the books had been less than
perfect or that there was something going very badly for one of our clients.
No, it simply meant that they’d left the books in the porch. All was after all
well. However, we do pay more for a “signed-for” service so this isn’t quite
what we expect.
They often fail to
leave notes about what they’ve done with parcels. We supply a customer
telephone number so I’m puzzled as to why they don’t use it to contact people
who aren’t in.
haven’t encountered these problems.
I was impressed
though with a delivery in Australia. Of course the books were printed there but
shipping is relatively expensive. Nevertheless a consignment of books was
printed and delivered within three days and we still made a healthy
And in the end,
most of our books are delivered successfully.
Catalogue of our books
So far we’ve made offers on the little square books, the
single author collections and on our charity books.
I’m still looking for a volunteer to be a featured
author. Get in touch if you’d like to
have a go.
I advertise via Twitter and Facebook and have started to build
up an email list.
And I’ll let you into a secret: the offers are permanent
though we only push them for a week.
Catalogue of books for children
I’ve added several titles to this over the last month. It is
growing apace. You can find it here.
Do take a look if you’re into children’s
Useful links for writers
My list of links for writers is also growing steadily. Find it
Just a reminder: this
is a Facebook group for all people who write about the 1940s. Fiction
and non-fiction, for young and old. Topics might then be: the Holocaust, World War
II, Civilian Experience (all sides) and the battle front. We can exchange ideas
about research and marketing. We may promote books and stories, - the last day
of every month and on launch / release day.
Of course, with my
Schellberg Cycle I'm constantly in that world.
This is a personal recommendation. Initially I intend to use
my Dream Team a lot myself but gradually I would add in people that friends and
friends of friends have recommended.
You sign up to a mailing list and every time a request comes
in we mail it out to you or the enquirer contacts you directly via my web site.
The conversation then carries on between you and the person making the request.
You may also have a page set up on my blog and you may update that once a
Interested? You may sign up for more than one category.
Beta readers sign up here.
Illustrators sign up here.
DO REMEMBER THAT
AT ANY TIME YOU’RE APPROACHED AND YOU’RE BUSY IT’S PERFECTLY FINE TO SAY NO.
News from all of our writers
keep sending news like this and remember to supply a link to where reader can
buy the book.
We have two calls
for submission out at the moment:
We’re still getting
plenty of interest in our single-author collections. These are now only for
authors we’ve published before and they may include stories we’ve already
published, ones they’ve had published elsewhere and new ones. The description for
this is now on the web site. http://www.bridgehousepublishing.co.uk/index.php/single-author-collections
You may recycle stories we’ve already included in another anthology, and
you may reedit these if you wish. You may also add in new stories. We’re aiming
at a total word count of between 30,000 and 70,000 words.
Your work will go through three stages of editing, and will
be proof-read twice in-house. We design the book and the cover. We hook it up
to all the distributing channels and we complete first-level marketing. We are
risking all of this on you as well as the set-up costs and the copies to the
British Library and legal deposit agency.
You’ll probably not get rich quick: anthologies by new
authors do not sell in big numbers initially. Each month we post to a dropbox
information about books’ performance. A link is sent with the monthly
newsletter. See below for how to access this newsletter.
In the end we had
more than enough stories for the Christmas period and in fact some have even
been scheduled for Christmas 2019.
Stories are at
4.00 p.m. Afternoon Teatime, Kaffee and Kuchen time and it's also when the kids
are home from school. Just the right time for a cuppa and a good story.
In December we had stories from: Sheila Barclay, James
Bates, Alan Cadman, Steve Carr, Lynn Clement, Alyson Faye, Janet Howson, Gill
James, Dawn Knox, Mark Kodama, Geraldine McCarthy, Roger Noons, Helen O’Neill,
Paula RC Readman, Michal Reibenbach, Hannah Retallick, Copper Rose, Kathy Sharp
and Robin Wrigley,
Highest performing posts in December were:
I’ll shortly be asking those people who appeared in The Best of CaféLit7 to help me to
choose what to put into The Best of
CaféLit 8. Look out for a separate email about that. You may be interested
to know that the top performing posts in 2018 were:
These may also be included in The Best of CaféLit 8.
If when I go to my editor’s dashboard I see that a story has
fewer than 20 hits, I put it on my own Twitter feed and the Facebook page.
Our stories are generally spread in the following ways:
- 36 people have signed up to have the stories
fed from the blog site
- I tweet about the site from time to time
- some members visit daily or when they have
- authors make efforts – blog,
website, FB, email signature, word of mouth
- casual readers come across the site
- one story being read leads to another
Maybe you could all share your ideas of how to make us more
visible and tell us what you do?
You can read all of the stories here.
Here's a reminder of how we select stories: I open my inbox
and I'll often see four or five submissions. I'll select the best of the bunch
and schedule it for in a few days' time. I'll let you know. I may reject one or
two but ones that are basically sound I'll keep forever or until they’re
published. Consequently if one you've
submitted to us has not been rejected, and you find a home for it elsewhere,
let us know the name of the story and the date you submitted and we'll remove
it from the archive. Try to include the drink each time. Do put CaféLit in the
subject line so we can identify your submission. Remember to include your bio
(50-100 words including links for longer stories, just links for 100 words or
less) each time. I haven't got time to look up an old one and in any case your
bio is probably changing all the time.
We're always open
to submissions. Find out to submit here. Remember,
this gives you some exposure, you can add in a short CV each time, and there's
always the chance that your work might be accepted for the annual anthology.
We have some
seasonal opportunities coming up now:
So, get writing.
On offer for
CaféLit authors is a page on our web site. See examples here.
The list is
growing. Click on the names to find out more about the authors and to access
their work. If you're a CaféLit author and would like a web page, use the ones
there to get ideas. You need to send me between 250 and 350 words about yourself,
an attractive image, a list of up to six publications, up to six awards and up
to six links. I then also link the page to your stories on CaféLit. Send to
gill at cafelit dot co dot uk.
I’m happy to
update the pages each January.
This one has
brought up a new Creative Café Project activity: salsa dancing. Well, why not?
I just wish it was a bit nearer.
suggestions and review them if you can.
further support the project in the following ways.
Do you have any
I'm continuing my
tour of creative cafés where I collect stories for an anthology. In some cases,
writers may offer them and in others customers may tell me their story and I'll
write it for them. Do you know of a café that might be interested in this? Let
me know if you do.
Remember you can
now buy merchandise for the Creative Café project. The profit on anything you
buy here goes to the Creative Café Project. Check this out here.
looking for new cafés. If you visit one
of the cafés in the project
and would like to write a review of between 250 and 350 words – nice, too, to
have a couple of pictures – send it to me here.
Do the same if you find a new café.
The Red Telephone
I have some books now lined up to read. I'm particularly
interested in near-futures speculative YA fiction. Again, I’m only accepting
proposals form people we already know.
Facebook Group for the Imprints
Scribblers Sans Frontières - Here you can:
Discuss all technical issues re our books
Exchange marketing ideas
Advertise and report on your events
Promote any of your titles or successes
Share good practice and ideas
Get help with writing problems
Anything else appropriate
Please come and join us if you're
eligible. Or you can ask me to sign you up.
I’m proactively promoting my school visits associated with The House on Schellberg Street
project. I’ve now developed a whole workshop for this. It starts off with a
board game, includes some role play and creative writing and ends with a
It is now possible to purchase the kit to work on on your
own. Find details here.
Costs for my workshops = travel expenses plus £400 for a
full day and £200 for a half day. This includes all materials and some
freebies. Two schools near to each other might consider splitting the day and
halving the travel expenses and fees. This is open to negotiation in any
I also offer a free half day visit, though you pay my travel
expenses, if you allow me to promote my books.
I’m continuously adding materials for schools to the site
that are different from the ones I use for the workshops. I’ve recently added
in resources and books to do with the topic. See them here
Query for a school visit here.
I’m also happy to tailor a visit for your agreed donation.
This can be for either a Schellberg Cycle
visit or a creative writing workshop. Any monies raised this way will go
specifically to a project I have for a non-fiction book about a journey that
will follow the footsteps of Clara
I’m hoping to do the whole journey by train, including departing via
my nearest Metrolink station. It’s important to feel the rails beneath my
I offer as well standard author visits which include
readings from my books, Q & A sessions and creative writing exercises.
Please remember, with these as well, I’m open to negotiation
if you can’t afford the full price.
Free listing for our writers
If you are one of
our writers and would like to offer school visits, please contact me. I'm
offering a free listing on the imprint pages.
State: age groups
you are prepared to work with, a definition of your work, distances you are
prepared to travel. Appropriate links. Please provide an image.
event on 1 December was as ever great fun. Many thanks to Allison Symes who
gave it such a great write-up. She really captures the atmosphere of what our celebrations
are all about. Read it here.
Current reading recommendation
This month I’m
recommending Meeting Coty by Ruth
Estevez. I know Ruth through SCBWI
North-West. Like me, Ruth sometimes writes for children and sometimes
writes for adults. This is one for adults.
too, that this book is published by the small press: Kings Hart Books.
Protagonist Tessa’s younger sister eloped from under the Mother Superior's
nose. Her elder sister believed herself to be the Madonna Incarnate. Her mother
spent entire days lying in bed.
father hid in his study eating liquorice allsorts. Tessa herself decapitated
flowers and plunged their heads into aromatic waters and dreamed of meeting
This is an intriguing story of a by-gone age. The characters are richly
A great read if you like historical fiction.
Find it here.
And another little note about Ruth. She works for the Portico Library
I'm running an occasional series of interviews on my blog.
If you would like to be on my blog just answer the questions
below and send them with appropriate images to gill dot james at btinternet dot
Please feel free to pick and choose which of these to
What do you write? Why this in particular?
What got you started on writing in the first place?
Do you have a particular routine?
Do you have a dedicated working space?
When did you decide you could call yourself a writer?
Do you do that in fact?
How supportive are your friends and family? Do they
understand what you're doing?
What are you most proud of in your writing?
How do you get on with editing and research?
Do you have any goals for the future?
writers have inspired you?
Please write as much or as little as you like for each
section and supply as many pictures as you like. Also let me know your latest
publication and supply me with a link if it's not on Amazon.
I 'm also happy to offer you a post whenever you have a new
book come out, even if I'm not your publisher. In this case answer the
- Tell me about your book.
- Tell us about your
research for this book.
- What inspired you to write
- What's next?
- How can we get a copy of
- Do you have any events
Again write as much or as little as you please. Alter and
add to the questions if you wish. Provide as many pictures as you wish.
Send to: gill dot james at btinternet dot com
I’m giving away the Kindle version of my first Schellberg Cycle book: The
House on Schellberg Street. Access it and lots of other freebies here.
Note, that normally my books and the books supplied by the imprints I
manage sell for anything form £0.99 to £10.99, with most on Kindle being about
£2.99 and the average price for paperback being £7.00. We have to allow our
writers to make a living. But we’re offering these free samples so that you can
try before you buy.
Naturally we welcome reviews.
Some notes about my newsletters and
They do overlap a little but here is a summary of what they
Bridge House Authors
For all those published by Bridge House or
interested in being published by us. General news about the imprint. News for
writers. Link to book performance. Sign up here.
For all those published by CaféLit. General
news about the imprint. News for writers. Link to book performance. News about
the Creative Café Project. Sign up here.
For all those published by Chapeltown or
interested in being published by us.
General news about the imprint. News for writers. Link to book
performance. Sign up here.
News about our books and our authors. Sign up here.
The Creative Café Project
about the project and CaféLit – for the consumer rather than for the
Sign up here.
News about my writing, general news about what the
imprints are doing, news about other writers I know, news about the Creative
Project, a recommended read, a
giveaway each month. Find it here.
Opportunities List Remember I
keep a full list of vetted opportunities on my writing blog. See them here. New
ones are added several times a day. Roughly once a month I go through it and
take out all of the out of date ones. At that point I send it out to a list. If
you would like to be on that list, sign up here.
Pushing Boundaries, Flying Higher
News about conferences and
workshops to do with the young adult novel. (infrequent postings) Sign up here
Red Telephone Authors
For all those published by The Red
Telephone or interested in being published by us.
General news about the imprint. News for
writers. Link to book performance. Sign up here.
Schellberg Cycle Workshop News
Offers and news of events to do
with Schellberg Cycle workshops. Sign up here.
Offers and news of school visits. Sign up here.
Red Telephone Books
News about our books and our authors. Sign
A Publisher’s Perspective
Here I blog as a publisher. Access
The Creative Café Project
Listings and reviews of creative
cafés. See them her
Find these here
Gill James Writer
All about writing and about my books. View
Gill’s Recommended Reads
Find information here
about books that
have taken me out of my editor’s head.
Gill’s Sample Fiction
Read some of my fiction here.
The House on Schellberg Street
All about my Schellberg project.
Read it here.
All about teaching creative writing.
Some creative writing exercises. Access this here.
Books Books Books
Weekly offers on all of our books.
Find them here.
Happy reading and